12 October 2020
Midsummer’s solar cells trialed on side of hybrid truck trailer
Midsummer AB of Järfälla, near Stockholm, Sweden – a provider of turnkey production lines as well as flexible, lightweight copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film solar panels for building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) – is participating in a development project (partially financed by Sweden’s innovation agency Vinnova) in which its solar panels are installed on truck trailer made by Swedish commercial vehicle manufacturer Scania. The objective is to investigate how much the electricity generation from the solar panels can extend the range of a hybrid truck and ultimately both save fuel and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
Measurements will also be made whether the trailer can feed electricity into the grid when not running. Theoretical calculations by the University of Uppsala indicate fuels savings of 5-10% in Sweden and 10-20% in Malaga, Spain.
“Our technology has previously successfully powered electrical vehicles such as buses and smaller vehicles,” says CEO Sven Lindström. “It is promising that project calculations indicate good possibilities for actual fuel savings. Our type of flexible and thin-film solar cells is necessary to drive the development in the direction that the automotive industry needs to take in order to reach global climate goals,” he adds.
“Being able to power our trucks with solar energy would be a massive breakthrough for the truck industry,” believes Eric Falkgrim, technology leader in Vehicle Design, Scania R&D.
Commercial trials will run throughout 2021. In June, Vinnova announced funding of SEK8.3m (US$0.93m) for phase 2 of the project and that the participants had also committed to financing the project. As well as Midsummer and Scania, participants include the University of Uppsala (project manager); Eksjö Maskin & Truck (constructor of the trailer); Ernst Express (commercial operator of the truck and trailer); and Dalakraft (contributing competence and project management for safe and sustainable energy transfer).